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"We gather together to stand as 1 unit against this demonic spirit."
After weeks of speculation and protests by Christian leaders in Detroit, the unthinkable took place.
Just after 11 p.m. on July 25, a satanic organization unveiled a 9-foot statue of the goat-headed Baphomet, a pagan symbol of Lucifer. The 1-ton statue features two young children looking up adoringly at the devil.
Leaders of the Satanic Temple have been saying for weeks they planned to unveil the statue somewhere in Detroit and leave it there temporarily before moving it to Arkansas, where they plan to set it beside the Ten Commandments at the State Capitol. This is the same statue they attempted to erect months ago in the Oklahoma State Capitol.
Nine Detroit preachers have done battle with the Satanic Temple, protesting the statue being brought to their city and pleading with the city not to allow it.
“They got kicked out of Boston, Oklahoma didn’t want them, they tried to put (it) up in Florida, that was shut down,” said David Bullock of Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church in Detroit at a recent news conference. “Now they come to Detroit. Why do they come to Detroit?”
“We gather together to stand, as one unit, against this demonic spirit,” said Pastor Don Shelby of Burning Bush International Ministries.
Everything you always wanted to know about the devil but were too afraid to ask is revealed in the autographed bestseller, “Shocked by the Bible”
Area Catholics held a special mass aimed at countering the spirit of the Satanists.
About 250 parishioners and supporters gathered Saturday morning at St. Joseph Catholic Church to pray for Detroit.
The Satanic Temple eventually got its way, as city leaders allowed them put up their statue.
The chosen site was the Lauhoff Corporation building in the Rivertown Warehouse District.
ChurchMilitant.com found the location, and several of its staff infiltrated the building, “where a loud party was in full swing,” the Catholic group said on its website.
“An earlier downpour had come through the roof and flooded the dance floor, and approximately 100 people milled around the dark, smoke-filled room. As the rain ceased, more people trickled in, and towards midnight the number went up to about 400. On one side of the room stood an inverted red cross, and on the other the nine-foot-tall statue of Baphomet, covered in a white sheet.”
But Church Militant brought their own version of a heavenly statue, only instead of a fallen angel, theirs was a sculpture of the Archangel Michael.
Church Militant had a 6-foot bronze statue of the archangel, which they hauled in a flatbed truck and prayed the prayer of St. Michael while encircling the site three times.
“At 11 p.m., two men in leather S&M attire grabbed each side of the sheet and yanked it off, to loud applause and shouting. The men then stood directly in front of the monument and began kissing lewdly while the crowd cheered, and afterwards a steady stream of VIP ticket holders — who had paid $75 for the chance to approach the statue — took turns sitting on Baphomet’s lap while engaging in sexual groping, mostly homosexual in nature.”
Church Militant also crashed the indoor “unveiling party” and photographed the satanic supporters – and while some interviewed by a local TV station said they don’t actually worship Satan others did describe themselves as anti-Christian. Visible in one of the photographs is an illuminated, upside-down cross.
Satanic party-goers paid $25 for a ticket, and $75 to get photographed on Baphomet’s lap.
“We brought our six-foot bronze statue of St. Michael, who normally rests in our Abp. Fulton J. Sheen studio, as a counter-witness to the blasphemous goat-headed statue of Baphomet, meant to represent Satan,” the Catholic group said on its website. “According to Scripture, St. Michael is the angel who did battle against Lucifer and cast him out of Heaven into the Abyss.”
The Satanic Temple chose Detroit last year as home to its national chapter house.
“Detroit is our first and primary chapter,” spokesman Doug Mesner told the Detroit Metro Times. “We feel at home in Detroit.”
The Metro Times had previously referred to the Satanic Temple as “atheist” but was quickly corrected.
“The Satanic Temple has taken issue with our description of the organization as an “atheist activist group.” We apologize for the misrepresentation,” the newspaper said on its website.
The group’s request to place the satanic monument next to the Ten Commandments monument at the Oklahoma State Capitol was rejected. Mesner told Detroit Metro Times that the group is gearing up for a lawsuit against Oklahoma.
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2015/07/now-archangel...
Is this the hook in the jaw?
Is this oil for blood?
Is this vengeance? Is this the rhetoric america wants?
Is this what Israel would do?
Is this the hook in the jaw?
Is this oil for blood?
Is this vengeance? Is this the rhetoric america wants?
Is this what Israel would do?
Professor Ronald Sider, the well-known author, theologian, and activist, has now weighed in on the “gay Christian” controversy with a very important statement posted on the Red Letter Christians website (where Dr. Tony Campolo frequently contributes).
Sider’s article, “Homosexuality: A Better Approach,” begins by stating:
The recent Supreme Court decision need not—and should not—settle the issue for the church. But we deeply need a better approach to our neighbors and our churches’ own members, especially those who live with a same-sex attraction or orientation. To find this will require acknowledging the tragedy of our recent history, careful attention to biblical teaching, the continuity of Christian teaching, and the opportunity for a new kind of ministry.
As one example of “the tragedy of our recent history,” Sider notes that, “Instead of taking the lead in ministering to people with AIDS, some of our leaders even opposed government funding for research to discover medicine to help them.”
For inexcusable actions like this, Sider is right to call the church to repentance for mistreatment of homosexual men and women over the years.
At the same time, he states clearly that we cannot remain silent on the issue of homosexuality, as it would mean abandoning the testimony of Scripture, the testimony of the Church throughout history, and the testimony of a multitude of believers worldwide, especially in the global South.
I applaud Prof. Sider for speaking with such clarity and force on both of these essential points.
He next looks at the biblical evidence, reminding us of the clear and categorical nature of the scriptural witness, also noting that some of the pro-same-sex intercourse interpretations that have been raised in recent years “would have astonished Jesus and Paul.”
In the course of a few paragraphs, he shreds the contemporary arguments for allegedly God-approved same-sex intercourse, thereby underscoring what I’ve said many times before. Namely, that without the radical changes brought about by the sexual revolution of the 60s, no one would have dreamed that God’s Word could possibly be used to sanction same-sex intercourse. The interpretations are far-fetched, impossible, and without a shred of scriptural support.
Sider’s warning, then, is well placed (and even understated), as he notes that, “In addition to the unanimous biblical teaching, church history’s nearly unanimous prohibition of same-sex practice and the same teaching on the part of the churches that represent the overwhelming majority of Christians in the world (Catholics, Orthodox and churches in the global South) today ought to give us great pause before we bless same-sex intercourse.
So should the fact that those denominations in the US which are now embracing same-sex practice are the same ones that have lost almost half of their members in the last decades whereas in the same time period evangelical churches which still overwhelmingly teach that biblical faith prohibits same-sex practice have flourished, often growing and seldom declining.”
That being said, he now lays out his “better approach,” calling the church to: 1) nurture a new generation of Christians that esteems marriage and is faithful to its marital vows; 2) listen to and love gay people; 3) take the lead in combatting and condemning the physical and verbal abuse of gays; 4) teach parents the right way to respond to their kids who come out as gay.
And so, “We ought to develop model programs so that our congregations are known as the best place in the world for gay and questioning youth (and adults) to seek God’s will in a context that embraces, loves, and listens rather than shames, denounces, and excludes.”
Yes, “Our evangelical churches should be widely known as places where people with a gay orientation can be open about their orientation and feel truly welcomed and embraced,” and, if they are living holy, celibate lives, they should be able to serve and minister without restriction.
I have two caveats to this approach, which I otherwise affirm in most every detail.
First, Prof. Sider makes no mention of the transforming power of the gospel, as if it is impossible for the Lord to change someone’s “orientation,” as if the Church should not be praying for compassionate, scriptural, and Spirit-empowered ways to minister change to those who seek it, and as if the many who have changed do not even exist.
We can certainly recognize that holiness, not heterosexuality is the primary goal, fully understanding that some (many?) will not see a major shift in their attractions, despite their best efforts. But to ignore the transformational aspect of the Church’s work is to ignore an essential facet of the gospel. In Paul’s words, “such were some of you” (1 Corinthians 6:11), and that certainly meant deep internal changes as well as changes in behavior.
Second, Prof Sider writes, “Imagine the impact if evangelical churches were widely known to be the best place in the world to find love, support, and full affirmation of gifts if one is an openly, unabashedly gay, celibate Christian.”
I understand the point he is making and affirm it, but only with a strong reservation, specifically, with the idea of being “openly, unabashedly gay.”
Why should a follower of Jesus be “openly, unabashedly gay”? Why should that be any part of a believer’s identity or confession?
Why should we take on the world’s mentality of celebrating gayness, as if having sexual desires and romantic attractions that were contrary to our Father’s will and intent was something to be proud about. Why celebrate something which, if acted on, would be detestable in God’s sight?
The whole idea of “being gay” is a modern construct, as recognized by gay scholars and activists as well. In contrast, the Scriptures focus on us saying no to fleshly desires and actions through the renewing of our hearts and minds, recognizing our fundamentally fallen and flawed nature outside of Jesus, from our youth on (see Gen 8:21).
As many ex-gays have stated, the gay mentality (saying “I’m gay” and identifying as gay) is one of the key strongholds that must be broken in order to find true freedom in the Lord.
That means that our precious, fellow-believers who struggle with same-sex attraction should not be put in the special class of “gay Christian” any more than a Christian who has a lifelong struggle with another sinful desire or attraction should be put in a special class (as in “lustful Christian” or “violent Christian” or “alcoholic Christian”).
Rather, they should be fully embraced as our brothers and sisters, receiving all the help they need from the Church as they seek to honor the Lord, but without embracing a gay identity or needing to be “openly, unabashedly gay.” And if they feel that openness is important (as in, “I struggle with same-sex attraction”), they need to be careful not to let that define them.
What is interesting is that Prof. Sider made this very point earlier in this statement, writing, “It is profoundly unbiblical to argue that one’s sexual orientation is the defining aspect of one’s identity . . . . For Christians, our relationship to God and the new community of Christ’s church provide our fundamental identity, not our sexual orientation. That is not to claim that our identity as men and women with particular sexual orientations is irrelevant or unimportant for who we are. But that sexual orientation dare never be as important to us as our commitment to Christ and his call to live according to kingdom ethics.”
This, rather than being “an openly, unabashedly gay, celibate Christian,” is where the emphasis should have been placed.
All that being said, Prof. Sider’s statement is tremendously important, and I pray that it resonates deeply with believers, especially the younger generation and those who tend to be left-leaning evangelicals.
Perhaps my esteemed elder colleague will also prayerfully consider the points I have raised so that even more leaders and believers could add their unqualified affirmation to his words of compassion and truth.
YAY!! This is a BIG Deal!!
The Texas Supreme Court today ordered the City of Houston to either repeal a controversial non-discrimination policy or put it to a citywide vote this November. Houston-area pastors celebrated the ruling as a victory in their battle with the city council and Mayor Annise Parker over the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which would make sexual orientation and gender identity protected classes.
Jared Woodfill, a former Harris County Republican Party chief and a plaintiff in the case, said the ordinance, “tramples on the religious freedom of businesses and individuals, including, among other things, a provision allowing men … to use women’s restrooms and locker rooms under the protection of law.”
The Houston Area Pastors Council and supporters gathered over 50,000 signatures in June 2014 in an effort to rescind the ordinance. Parker and then-City Attorney Dave Feldman dismissed the majority of signatures. Three months ago, a Harris County district judge agreed the petition fell 585 signatures short of the requirement.
The 40 Day, 40 Night Challenge – Day 8
Do Not Judge Another Today’s Reading: Romans 14:10-13 Matthew 7:1-5
Question: What is your personal definition of judging others? What is the difference between discernment and judgement? Is there more than one application of the word discrimination? Discriminating tastes. What does this tell you about judgement? Are their ways in which we should judge and ways in which we should not? Application: Search your heart today for any judgmental ways.
MLK Pledge – #8 Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.
Quote: “By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. soldier who was released in a prisoner exchange in Afghanistan for five Taliban detainees, wound up in the middle of a pot raid earlier this week in northern California.
Captian Greg Van Patten with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office told Fox News Thursday that the county’s marijuana eradication team encountered Bergdahl on Tuesday while serving a search warrant on a home in Redwood City, Calif.
Van Patten said Bergdahl was detained, but ultimately was “determined not to be connected to the operation, at least there was no evidence to suggest he was involved.”
When Bergdahl encountered the law enforcement team, Van Patten said he identified himself while the sheriff’s office reached out to the Department of Defense. The agency confirmed Bergdahl was on leave, and asked for their assistance in getting him back.
Sheriff’s office personnel later drove Bergdahl “to a halfway point,” where he met up with army representatives.
An Army spokeswoman, Cynthia O. Smith, confirmed to Fox News that Bergdahl was picked up in California.
"U.S. Army North was contacted by the Mendocino County Sheriff's office on July 21 regarding an incident within their jurisdiction in which SGT Bowe Bergdahl was present,” Smith said.
“SGT Bergdahl was on authorized leave in California at that time. He was not arrested and has returned to his duty station at Fort Sam Houston He has not been charged with any crime involving his time on leave,” she added.
Van Patten said the marijuana eradication team discovered 180 mature plants being grown outdoors, and added that it would not be out of the question for someone in the house to not be aware of the plants.
At least one person was arrested in the raid, but Van Patten said at least one person other than Bergdahl was also not arrested. He added that it is “not unusual” for people found in similar situations to be released.
Keep Export-Import Bank in its corporate-welfare grave
By U.S. Rep. Justin Amash
If a man swipes your wallet, he's a thief. We don't ask whether the pickpocket ultimately spent the cash on a worthy cause. Yet, supporters of corporate welfare would have you believe that as long as the companies receiving welfare prosper, you shouldn't care that the government snatched your money to make it happen.
In fact, some people pushing corporate welfare are so dedicated to the ideology of political cronyism that they'll euphemistically describe wealth redistribution from regular Americans to politically connected businesses as "economic development."
On June 30, regular Americans won a big victory with the expiration of a particularly egregious example of cronyism, the Export-Import Bank, also known as Ex-Im. Recently, President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats have been cheerleading for Ex-Im. But in 2008, then-Senator Obama called Ex-Im "little more than a fund for corporate welfare." He was right.
Ex-Im subsidizes the exports of mostly large, well-connected corporations. The top beneficiaries of Ex-Im's support in 2014 included Boeing, General Electric, and Caterpillar — hardly companies in need of taxpayer assistance. Boeing alone received more than 68 percent of the benefits from Ex-Im's long-term guarantees in 2014, which is why people derisively refer to Ex-Im as "Boeing's Bank."
Ex-Im uses your money to fund loans and guarantees to foreign companies that buy products from particular U.S. exporters. This transfer of money from you to them doesn't create jobs; it destroys jobs.
It's no surprise that the few companies benefiting from Ex-Im corporate welfare are able to expand. They're getting free cash from you!
But what about the millions of Americans who have less money to pay their bills and pursue their own dreams because of Ex-Im and other corporate welfare programs? What about the thousands of small businesses whose competitors-including foreign corporations-are unfairly subsidized through Ex-Im and other crony schemes? Ex-Im and similar programs do immeasurable damage to our economy.
The Chamber of Commerce and its political allies in Washington present Ex-Im as a noble institution whose mission is to help businesses of all sizes take advantage of global opportunities. The truth is not even close.
In reality, Ex-Im supports less than 2 percent of all U.S. exports. In a typical year, only a few thousand of the roughly 28 million U.S. small businesses — that's 0.01 percent — receive support from Ex-Im. In other words, 99.99 percent of small businesses pay taxes to support Ex-Im yet receive zero benefits. This is cronyism at its worst.
Some people wrongly claim Ex-Im makes a profit for taxpayers. It doesn't; its costs are simply obscured through bogus accounting. As the Congressional Budget Office noted last year, Ex-Im's cost calculations conveniently ignore the actual market risk taken on by taxpayers when Ex-Im provides financing or guarantees. According to fair-value estimates, Ex-Im costs taxpayers about $2 billion per decade.
But even if Ex-Im were to make a profit (which it doesn't), it still should not exist. First, government bureaucrats can't outsmart the market, so this money would be more profitably invested if left in the hands of taxpayers. Second, if Ex-Im's activities were profitable, then it would be especially unnecessary, because the private sector would be more than happy to handle this work. Third, and most important, corporate welfare is inherently unjust and immoral.
Some people oddly assert we need Ex-Im because other countries have their own export-import programs. But the fact that other countries adopt an unsound economic policy — propping up politically connected companies and harming their own people — is no reason for us to do the same.
Ex-Im embodies everything Americans hate about Washington. It's finally dead. Let's keep it that way.
Doomsayers Doomed in Washington State Marijuana Debate
by Mark Thornton
Legal recreational marijuana use in the state of Washington is now two-and-a-half-years old and retail sales of marijuana have been legal for one year. What are the results of this experiment? Who was wrong and who was right on legalization?
A new study has been released by the Drug Policy Alliance, a group that openly promotes “harm reduction policies” such as drug legalization, drug decriminalization, legal medical marijuana, and needle exchange programs. The study tracks several of the key social statistics connected with drug use.
Less Government Spending
The most obvious result, and one that everyone agreed on, was that arrests and convictions for marijuana violations would decrease. The number of arrests in 2012, the year prior to legalization, was 6,196, while in 2014 the number of arrests was 2,316, a decrease of 63 percent. Most of those arrests were for possession of more than one ounce of marijuana. Convictions for marijuana violations have also declined by 81 percent.
The report notes that as a result of fewer arrests and convictions there have been millions of dollars saved in terms of police, prosecutors, courts, and jails. Just as important is that legalization has allowed people to save in terms of money, transaction costs, and stress. The most important result of all is that legalization has already saved thousands of law-abiding citizens from having a criminal arrest record.
Washington has received $83 million in marijuana tax revenues which was in the general range of expectations. Most of this tax revenue is used by the marijuana tax bureaucracy and to finance drug treatment and education programs, so that there is no net revenue gain for the state. There are also revenues from licenses and fees, but these are user fees so that there is no net revenue gain in this case, either.
The fact that marijuana legalization reduced the burden on the criminal justice system and funded drug deterrence programs was not in doubt. Nobody really questioned whether these results would be achieved. However, one area of disagreement was on the issue of crime. Opponents of legalization claimed that crime would increase. For example, law enforcement opposed legalization because of the potential impact on crime, in particular that it would increase organized crime. Proponents of legalization said that crime would decrease or be unaffected by legalization.
A Decrease in Crime
In terms of crime in Washington State, violent crime decreased by about 10 percent while property crime was about the same between 2012 and 2014. However, crime in both these categories has been falling steadily in recent years, so that the 10 percent decrease in violent crime could be because police were available to deter and solve violent crimes, or it could be other factors. The point is that there has been no spike in any type of crime since legalization began. The predictions of prohibitionists were clearly wrong.
Law enforcement agencies in Washington also opposed legalization because they thought it would cause an increase in highway accidents and fatalities. With so little data available the Drug Policy Alliance report described the “crash risk” as “stable,” meaning little change from 2012 to 2014. However, I believe the available data clearly supports that legalization leads to safer streets.
In 2008, the number of fatalities involving a drug or alcohol impaired driver was 255. By 2012 that number had dropped to 212 with the five year rolling average of 232. The goal for 2013 was set at 247, but the actual number was 182, beating all previous years and smashing the goal by a wide margin of 26 percent. In 2012 there were 501 serious injuries involving a drug or alcohol impaired driver, with a moving average of 509. In 2013 there were only 411 such serious injuries, easily beating all other years in the report and the previous year by 18 percent. Law enforcement position was clearly wrong when it comes to crash risk.
Use Among Youths Not Increasing
Legalizing marijuana can be expected to make marijuana more available and subject to “diversion” to those twenty-one years of age or younger. That in itself is not a damning conclusion for legalization if young people are substituting marijuana for more dangerous drugs and alcohol. Relative to heroin, cocaine, synthetic narcotics, and pharmaceutical drugs, as well as possibly alcohol and tobacco, marijuana is safer and less addictive. However, according to the Drug Policy Alliance report marijuana use has not increased among the youth:
Between 2012 and 2014 usage rates for 8th and 10th graders decreased slightly and similar rates for 12th and 6th graders remained unchanged.
Marijuana use in this group is high at roughly twice the rate of cigarette-use, but this is largely due to government policies that have made alcohol and tobacco relatively difficult to obtain. Unable to obtain alcohol and tobacco at a reasonable price, these children turned to marijuana and found it to be relatively safe. Secretary of Health, John Wiesman seems to be clueless about this simple economic fact. According to him:
We’ve got to ring the alarm bell because teens are telling us in their own terms that they don’t consider marijuana use to be risky. ... We’ve got to take the lessons learned about tactics that helped curb tobacco and alcohol use and put them to good use educating our kids about risks of using other substances.
Wiesman fails to realize that the government’s own policies encouraged minors to switch from alcohol and tobacco to marijuana. Once they tried marijuana they realized that the government’s propaganda was highly misleading.
In contrast to the prohibitionist propaganda messages, legalization has resulted in fewer arrests, convictions, and criminal records. More resources were made available for enforcing property and violent crime. The number of fatalities and serious injuries attributed to alcohol and drugs declined noticeably. As the statistics are clearly proving, the prohibitionist propagandists were wrong and the advocates of legalization were correct.
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